About NATRA Blog

This page is meant for folks to post their thoughts on the Saturday group run. I (Neil) will post a blurb about who showed up and where it was held. From there, I hope that other runners will share their thoughts since we often have different experiences on the same run. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Observatory Mesa then on to Picture Canyon

It was a busy day in Flagstaff. First, the run up Observatory Mesa brought out nearly 20 runners who ran various distances. There were a lot of new faces which was great to see. Folks then returned to the Kickstand for coffee and conversation.

However, my legs would not start barking at me until later in the day when they would get their true test. I helped lead tours for the Picture Canyon working group as they celebrated the Meander Restoration Project. Well over 100 attendees listened to local Flagstaff emissaries (including our very own David McKee) discuss the history and importance of the restoration project. Tours began at 11:30 and just when I was tired and hot from walking up and down the cinder hills from my first 1.5 hour trip, I was asked to help lead the day's final group. This was truly a marathon day, but well worth the aches and pains to show off the backyard jewel that most Flagstaff residents are unaware of.

NATRA helped sponsor the t-shirts for tour guides and of course was instrumental in removing 6 cars from the canyon's depths almost 6 years ago. A Daily Sun article by Jack Welch paints an exellent picture of the decrepit state of the canyon just 6 years ago. You can also read and even earlier account by Curt Fultz . Since then tons of trash have been removed; the rock art has been documented in great detail; the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places; the Arizona Trail has an easement through the canyon; tons of invasive plants have been removed; native species replanted; and finally, the canyon's natural meander has been restored so that this wetland can have a rebirth. Truly a testament to this community effort of countless volunteer hours and the dozens of partners who have helped to preserve this special place in our backyards.

For those interested, the Arizona Daily Sun has covered the Picture Canyon story dozens of times over the years. View the archives to see the history of how Picture Canyon has gone from being shameful to the Jewel of Flagstaff.

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